right now

right now

May 1, 2010

Redneck Saturday night...

It didn't start out redneck...

A lovely salad harvest and 3 Strawberries!
...followed by a refined dinner of crabcake sandwiches and salad,

but after dinner things quickly escalated to redneck status:

Sorry it's a bit long, but at the end is my husband (really, LOL?) rollerskating in his overalls from working outside all day, with a beer in his hand and his dog in the other, priceless! And yes, Mama Pea & Chicken Mama, that's WTIP streaming on our radio! I am sitting in a lawn chair sort of redneck style in the driveway knitting and drinking wine, but at least it's not in a plastic cup! Happy May Day Saturday night everyone!

Apr 30, 2010

Today's harvest and help needed...

Here is today's harvest, thanks to a little gardener named Jonathan for reminding me to go check on these! A few are a tad large, lol, but they aren't all bad...

Now on to the help I need... Here's the deal: I want to grow corn this year. I really don't want to dig up a patch for it and have to mow around it (although I will if I have to), and I definitely don't want it taking up residence in one of my raised beds. In doing my morning "walk of the estate" I noticed that the "junkyard" in the back by my shed was in full sun! This has always been an extremely shady part of the yard with nothing but some Virginia Creeper on the fence. Did the new home owners cut down a tree? I don't remember seeing them do it, but I peered through the fence and saw that they cut down 2, evidenced by the really big stumps left behind. I have heard that corn can tolerate some shade in the afternoon, and if that is so, this would be the perfect little corn stand. It is in full sun until about 1 pm, then filtered for another hour or so, and then shade. The photo is facing south, and the trees on the right are east, so you can see that as the afternoon wears on, there is more shade. The bonus would be that I don't have to rip out thick Bermudagrass turf, I would only need to move the trailer, add some amendments, and cultivate a bit. What do you think? Anyone experienced with fitting in corn in unlikely spaces or dealing with light shade for half the day? Oh, yeah, the other thing making me hesitant is that the fence you see behind the trailer is the one the occasional squirrel uses to come down from a tree, is planting corn there asking for trouble or do squirrels find it wherever it is? Help!

P.S. I caught our one regular squirrel (they aren't too common here) red handed munching on my artichoke seedlings, so apparently they like those! I think my Artichokes were a pipe dream from the beginning...

Apr 29, 2010

What's Growing on Here

I can finally see the light at the end of the seedling tunnel! They are almost all planted out now. It's not that the last ones can't go in yet, but rather that I haven't had time and I need to get creative with the remaining 8 tomato plants that I promised to be a good parent to when I conceived them! My seedling rack outside looks bulging still, but most of those flats will leave in the next week when I can transport them to the MG plant sale next weekend. All I have left on there for our family is the remaining tomatoes, some basil that need pots, and a flat of flower seedlings.

As for the garden, here are some photos of what's growing right now:

Val d'Orges Lettuce, Mesclun, Carrots, Radishes

Overflow from the garlic bed, Mizuna Greens (I REALLY need these garlic to vacate the premises, I need this space!) The pansies are no problem, they are almost done and ready to be ripped out anyways.

One of the potato bins, this is what I used my drainage pipe find in the neighbor's yard for!

This bed has all the garlic, onions and shallots in it, the shallots are already popping out of the ground but my onions are just starting to bulb and redden, it will be awhile before I can use this bed for a new crop.

More potato cages. I am growing Red Pontiac, Rose Finn, and Red LaSoda

Below are shots of "Tomato Alley". All my tomatoes are going in containers this year so I can free up bed space. I have 2 Hybrids I am growing this year, "4th of July" & "Orange Wellington", they are on the other side of the yard, and Tomato Alley has all my Heirlooms. It's my first year growing hybrids, and so far I am unimpressed, they are yellow looking and not growing nearly as robustly as the Heirlooms, I thought they were supposed to be easier?!

The hand-me-down unidentified Polish Heirloom, supposed to put out huge fruit

"Vorlon" - I felt like going Sci-Fi, I just like the name, LOL

The dependable and tasty Brandywine

Paul Robeson - supposed to be very tasty and surpass Brandywine?!

True Black Brandywine (these leaves are huge!)

So that's what's growing here. I have been so busy lately it seems like I haven't updated the actual state of growth out there in awhile. Hopefully tomorrow Finnegan will get his first harvest of 2010 - 2 strawberries! I saw them tucked under the leaves while walking around this morning, and can't wait until he finds them! All our local strawberry fields are opening up over the next week or two, which seems earlier than usual, but I haven't checked to see if that's true. I feel a day of picking and jam making approaching soon. As usual, I'm not ready...

Apr 28, 2010

Mommy goes back to school!

Yesterday was my first day as a Master Gardener in the "Ready, Set, Grow!" program. We go to local schools and teach some basic horticulture by potting seeds for kids to grow in their classes and plant on their school grounds, as well as teaching through the use of actual plants they can see, touch and smell. We are given a lot of leeway in our creativity and are encouraged to bring interesting things from our own yards or anything we think may be of interest to kids. I brought basil, rosemary, a branch cutting of an azalea in bloom, stevia, a radish in a pot so they can see that we also eat roots, and a branch off of my bleeding heart that was fully covered in blossoms. In lieu of having any cool looking vegetables in my yard this time of year, I decided to make a poster board that was all about kids in the garden. I posted different pictures of the kid gardens we have grown here at the house over the years and hoped for some interest. They loved it! I did it the night before so it is a little rough looking with the plain old Sharpie markers, but hey, it was 2nd graders! Here's some pics, they are a bit rough looking due to my flash not working and it was overcast outside and dim inside! Hopefully they will enlarge with a click.
Here is the board

Close up of the "Kids Only - No Grownups Allowed" Gardens

Why toys belong in the garden!

A Spooky Garden

Kids Berry Patch

Mr. Potato Head comes to the rescue if you don't like a vegetable

Pizza Garden and kids cooking

I have to admit I had a lot of fun making this! My kids were so excited their geeky mom was coming to school, Loch even helped me drag it all in and wanted to stay with us, but I had to shoo him off to class. It was very busy since we had to do 6 classes of 2nd graders, but it was the most rewarding thing I have done in a long time. I tend to get complacent since for my kids gardening is becoming a way of life, and doesn't generate the ooohs and ahhhs that we got from the kids yesterday. Some kids had never made the connection between "pizza" and "garden", and to watch their faces light up with the possibilities was so fun. Big bonus was the last class of the day and a little girl said she wanted to be a gardener like me when she grew up - wow, I almost cried, LOL! Since being a stay at home mom for so long, I had forgotten how good it feels to be recognized and admired, and it was all the better coming from someone so young. I am doing another school next week and cannot wait. I really feel that this particular program is definitely my calling in the Master Gardener program, it is a great bunch of people to work with and I really feel we are adding something very valuable to the kids' curriculum. Woo Hoo for 2nd Graders! I learned something valuable as well, to make sure I take the time to step back and really look at my garden occasionally without seeing weeds, forgotten planting times, forgotten harvests, etc and instead see the fun and miracle of it all...

Here's to the 2nd Grade and may you all look at your gardens with the same wonder today!

Apr 26, 2010

kinderGARDENS - Week 2 - Sharing Plans

Inadvertent Farmer

Sorry for the delay, this should have been posted on Friday but we had a hectic weekend!

So the kids have decided on a project...(drumroll)...and it is:

A Green Roof and Container Garden!

My self-imposed rules are that they need to use materials from our stash (seeds, scrap lumber, etc - there's plenty of that!), and that if they needed to use tools they had to ask Mommy or Daddy, otherwise I am leaving the plant selection, care and design up to them. I was really impressed that they came up with an additional bonus, they are solving a problem I already had - their "fort"/playset had a tarp roof that was destroyed by a random tropical storm or nor'easter last fall, and I had yet to replace it due to the cost and having to measure the darn thing, but yet they needed shade for the hot summer to come. Why didn't I think of that? LOL...

Here's the photos from Week 2:
Above is the playset/fort that needs help! The kids are going to grow a "green roof" for it. On the top left side of the fort is a planter box constructed by them (via help from hubby with power tools!) and hung where they can plant and reach it to water. The also envision a "counter" on one side of the sandbox where they can have a kids' "Farmer's Market". Does that mean they are going to charge me for vegetables grown in my own yard? What a scam!

Lochlann really wanted a raised bed that I couldn't dictate what got planted where, so he smartly asked Daddy (the non-OCD parent!) to help him build it with scrap lumber.

Finnegan filled the box with soil...

He even wrote their names so each one of the boys "gets a side". Remember those days with your siblings? Don't cross this line!...

The next update will be on seed selection and planting the boxes! To all the kids out there in the garden, have a great garden day and get good 'n dirty! You are helping OCD moms like myself everywhere loosen up and learn to enjoy life's little moments!

Apr 25, 2010

Where did the weekend go?

Time sure flew by this weekend - I didn't get any of my seedlings planted yet! Last night I had a pretty good turnout for the Seed Swap Party, but instead of saying bon voyage to a bunch of seedlings, I ended up having more than before, lol! We all did swap and got some great stuff, but all of the extras were left here instead of going back home to their respective growers! It will work out great though, since I will be able to take them to the Master Gardener Plant Sale and thus their seedlings will go towards raising money for a valuable educational resource for local gardeners!

Of course, I completely forgot to take pictures of the event, but we ended up with 19 guests including all the children that came too! Below are photos of my seedlings before the event, now imagine that I still have that many flats only a couple more now, although the ones I set out have gone to new homes! Everyone did something different, which was nice. We had veggie and flower seeds, vegetable, herb, flower seedlings and some perennial cuttings from others' own yards.

A couple of highlights of the evening were provided by the children:
- Random children running around the yard in the dark planting unknown seeds they had squirreled away from the seed table into all my beds and who knows where else, that will be interesting!!
- At one point a few of us were inside talking when Loch quietly came inside the house, marshmallow on a stick in one hand, and pouring a draft beer out of the keg with the other hand... "It's for Daddy" he calmly announced and walked back out like it was the most normal thing a 7 year old could do!
- The drawing for a garden book & pair of gloves went like this: Me- "All the GROWNUPS have put their name in the drawing right? No kids, right?" ...to which everyone replies yes. I then proceed to pick the youngest child to do the drawing, who happened to be the Samster, he's almost 4. I say "okay Sam, pull out a piece of paper and give it to me"... he does and I unfold and read it and it says "SAM", LOL.... I think he rigged it! That was pretty cute.

As of now, the party aftermath is all picked up, dishes are done, and I just sent hubby out of the house with a 7 layer dip headed to watch "After Armageddon" in a garage... can you tell it's a guy's night out? They are probably in survivalist mode right now, talking of hunting and guns all while eating the food that the WOMAN made, hahahaha! Me? I'm putting the kids to bed early and going to veg out in front of the TV and knit - thank goodness we still have the regular networks! Hope you all had a productive weekend and for those of you in the south, I was thinking about you and hope your gardens and families are all ok after those storms...